The Seven Wonders of Manitoba

Exchange District, Winnipeg

Paul Balcaen

“My vote for one of Canada’s Seven Wonders is the inspiring and historical (and beautiful) Winnipeg Exchange District. Situated right in the heart of the city, it’s my favorite place in Canada. I love that neighborhood so much that I even lived there for 3 years in the 1990’s. Winnipeg’s Exchange District has the largest collection of turn of the century Chicago Style architecture outside of Chicago. Young Chicago architects in the late 1800’s used Winnipeg as a training ground in the designing of the new high-rise architecture that city is well known for.  In many of the Exchange District buildings you can actually see influences from the great Chicago architects of the 1800’s like American high-rise genius Louis Sullivan, for example in the beautifully lighted Electric Light Building. A 20 block area, it has 150 turn of the century buildings in the core area of Winnipeg, where you can actually surround yourself with history and hardly see any modern buildings in view…. A walk down the Exchange District allows you to experience the great and inspiring beginnings Winnipeg had at the turn of the last century, and it’s future as a vibrant, creative space.”

Churchill

Jane Jacobson

“Churchill: A smorgasborg of interests for many people! For the naturalist and photographer… Polar bears. Churchill sits on the migration route of the polar bears. It has the largest concentration of polar bears in one place in the world. People come from all ends of the globe to see them in close proximity in the ever-famous Tundra Buggies. Churchill also has several ecosystems in close proximity, which makes it a prime place for birders and botanists. They can conveniently and affordably observe hundreds of plant and bird species. Look up! Way up! Churchill has fantastic displays of the Northern Lights...aurora borealis. They were studied here with the Black Brant rockets years ago. The Port of Churchill is still a very important and sometimes controversial seaport. It is still operating. For the historian… Churchill claims ownership to an Inuit Museum, which has relics dating back to pre-Dorset times. A very unique place. For all history fans there is the ever-famous Fort Prince of Wales across the Churchill River, which has exciting stories to tell about the French, and the English conflict and the fur trade.

The explorer, Samuel Hearne has his name carved in the rock on the shore of the Churchill River, where they moored their boats. Let us remember too that the Churchill River is a home of the endearing and wonderful beluga whale. The schools of whales are a great attraction to those who go on the boat tours, as they cavort around the boats and make it even possible at times to touch them. Churchill certainly can be recommended as a wonder of Canada!

Look to the land, the sea, and the sky, and you will be intrigued!

Clearwater Lake

Wes Maksymetz

The clearest body of water in Canada.  You can see Jackfish hunting minnows in over 15 meters of water (when conditions are calm). The lake is about 200 square miles, very deep, very cold, contains lake trout, pike, whitefish.  American fishermen go ‘ga ga’ over it.

Riding Mountain National Park

Tracey Shillington

I'm not sure if Riding Mountain National Park has been nominated yet for one of the seven wonder of Canada, but if it hasn't, I will!

Riding Mountain National Park is such an incredible place...it spans 2973 square kilometres of hills, valleys and meadows, resting at the foot of the Manitoba escarpment.

Getting to it is half the fun...after driving hours through flat prairie towns, you find yourself gently rising until you see the incredible valleys, forests and "mountains" (if Manitoba can have mountains) that almost rise out of nothing. It's like taking a deep deep breath of peace and tranquility.

There are beautiful trails that crisscross throughout the park and lead to the heart of the boreal and deciduous forests. It's there that you will often see elk, black bear, moose, wolves and even the odd cougar (I hear).

During the trips that my partner and I have taken into the park, (every chance we get!) we've bumped into black bears on the trail, had a moose walk into our camp, and to my utter delight, came across a family of SWANS bathing and resting in the cove of the lake near our camp.

Riding Mountain also has a rich history. Grey Owl lived in the area for a short time and you can still hike to see his cabin, which has been restored. But what's really interesting to me is that Riding Mountain was also the home of the Whitewater P.O.W. Camp during the second world war. The story goes that these prisoners of war were treated so well, and loved the area so much, that when the war ended, many of them stayed, and made Eastern Manitoba their home!!
It must have enchanted them as it has me! ;)

The forest has reclaimed much of the buildings that once stood there, the roads have now become wide grassy trails and it's now truly one of the wild places of Canada.

A wonder it truly is.

Prairie Dog Central Railway

Patricia Duck

A few years ago, I went on a vacation to Winnipeg, Manitoba and was lucky enough to take a ride on the old Prairie Dog Central Railway. This 1882 steam locomotive made you think you were going back in time to a different era. It was a 2-and-a-half hour ride where we saw vast farmland and other beautiful landscapes, and made a stop at a rural community where we could buy souvenirs to take home. It was slow but unique - a true wonder of Canada.

Red River Floodway

McLell

Since May is "flood month" in Winnipeg, it seems a very appropriate time to nominate The Red River Floodway as one of the Seven Wonders of Canada!   "Duff's Ditch" as it is often referred to, is an amazing example of utilizing human ingenuity, foresight, technology, and perseverance to re-channel part of the waters of the Red around Winnipeg when necessary to protect the city from disastrous flooding.  Had it not been constructed following the devastating flood of 1950, the flood of the century in 1997 would have been almost impossible to combat, and without the current undertaking to further expand the floodway, the potential for future floods of even greater magnitude would be a sombre prospect.  At the time, the Red River Floodway earth-moving project was as large as the Suez Canal, and it is one of the landmarks that can be seen from space.  Thanks to Duff Roblin and the government of the time, the people of Winnipeg, Manitoba, and all of Canada for a job well done in preserving the city of Winnipeg, where the Red and Assiniboine rivers join!  (The motto for Winnipeg (from the Cree meaning murky waters) is "One, with the strength of Many").

Spirit Sands, Spruce Woods Provincial Park

Leigh Enns

Sand dunes shifting on the whim of the wind; unlikely plants like the pincushion cactus; and strange creatures like the hognose snake makes this beautiful site a Seven Wonder!   This is the truly unique Spirit Sands - a truly spiritual experience!